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Sirens & Gavels

‘Archangel of Death’ stalking suspect has week to plead insanity

A federal judge has given a Spokane man found with modified weapons and a journal proclaiming himself the embodiment of God's wrath one week to decide if he'll seek an insanity defense.

An order signed by U.S. District Judge for Eastern Washington Thomas Rice grants Brent Russ, 33, until Oct. 31 to decide if he plans to plead insanity after a grand jury indicted him on a federal stalking charge. Russ is accused of sending threatening communications through U.S. mail to a former neighbor, who is also a tribal police officer.

When FBI agents arrived at Russ' southwest Spokane home last month, they also found a modified handgun, shotgun and rifle designed to inflict greater harm to targets. A search of Russ' home also revealed a lengthy journal, now under court seal, in which Russ identifies himself as Azrael, the Archangel of Death, and states his willingness to die in battle against the forces of evil.

Rice ordered the timetable in an effort to speed the proceedings. Russ has remained in custody of federal authorities since his arrest Sept. 26. Rice described the evidence provided by the federal government illustrating Russ' erratic behavior prior to his arrest as a "strong showing" in documents filed Thursday.

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